The sunset on my New Zealand experience has faded to dim lights in the distance. The lights on my new house in Madison shine brightly on my first night. This post has taken me forever to write since I have not wanted to admit my journey over. Writing this last returned home blog means that New Zealand really was last year. The new school year’s adventures are beginning as everyone moves back to Madison and gets settled into their apartments and houses. So with that, New Zealand was amazing. Everyone asks, “How was New Zealand?” and every time I just have to chuckle. I always answer with either “It was amazing” or “It was really great” or “Exactly the cliche study abroad experience.” However, in reality it was so much more than that. There were the tough times, like being away from my family on Christmas, and there were the fantastic times, like all the side trips I took with friends throughout the country, and there were even boring times, one word-homework.
I am grateful for all the stories and experiences New Zealand gave me. I am grateful for all the friends from around the world that I had to opportunity to meet and get to know. I am grateful for the tough and stressful times because it was then that I truly grew to the individual that I am today. Moments that I will remember forever…the All Blacks winning the Rugby World Cup, the Milford Sound cruise, horseback riding on a South Island beach, going spelunking in Abbey Caves, black-water rafting and abseiling in Waitomo Caves, and well I could go on forever. The memories are plentiful. The biggest challenge has been not alienating all my friends from before I left with constant tales of my time abroad. I definitely have to limit myself in how much I talk about it, but now that I am with my Madison mates many of us have been abroad and are having the same problem! I am also super excited to begin my new UW job-a study abroad peer advisor!! So I’ll get to talk about it all the time FOR MY JOB and it’ll be great to be surrounded by people in the same boat!
The experience certainly gave me new perspectives on how people live, just seeing that much farming makes you rethink city-life. It also renewed joys I had began to take for granted. For example, I LOVE Madison. I am so STOKED to be back. This year is going to provide new challenges, old challenges with different twists, and lots of opportunities. It is unfortunate to turn the leaf on this chapter of my life/ university experience, but I have a feeling that the next chapter will be quite the page-turner! I certainly will keep pieces of my abroad experience close at hand, like does anyone know what channel rugby’s on in the States?? GO THE ALL BLACKS! I love Skyping back and hearing how everyone is doing with their already halfway gone semester. I miss my football(soccer) team and all my Kiwi friends, but I think I’ll see a few still in my time. Plus I’ve already had one summer visit from another study abroad American friend from Kansas! So the experience has not become just a distant dream as I feared it would but seeing the people and keeping in touch keeps the experience alive and well instead of just “something that happened.” I’m especially reminded when I slip up and say something very Kiwi and non-American!
And with that my dear friends, I will be signing out. Thank you for following me through my year in Kiwi-land. It’s been a pleasure writing for you and have a nice life!